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MLTI Professional Development Fall 2012

September 26th, 2012 1 comment

We’re coming to a school near you very soon! This year, the MLTI Professional Development team is going to be in every region of the state, delivering high quality workshops aimed at specific content areas for educators. We will be delivering a series of one-day, hands-on sessions, both in the fall and the spring. We would like to see as many teachers, librarians and administrators as we can attend these sessions, so please spread the word and we’ll see you on the road!

The Fall PD Session descriptors are listed below. For further details on the sessions, their dates and locations, and registration information, click on the session title. For further MLTI Professional Development information, please go to this page on maine.gov.

The Art of Technology in Mathematics

Unlock mathematical conceptual understanding through discovery using technology. Come explore technology options at your fingertips as we seamlessly integrate the MLTI with the new Common Core State Standards. This hands-on workshop will utilize resources to add to your toolkit for teaching and learning. Templates and applets will be provided as we look at ways to increase student conceptual understanding using Geogebra, Grapher, Numbers, and other tools on the MLTI image.

Supporting Students with Special Needs Using MLTI and Universal Design for Learning

This hands-on workshop will begin by exploring accessibility options and adjusting preference settings on the MLTI device to meet the needs of the learner. Participants will also learn to create lessons that target Response to Intervention and incorporate different learning styles to increase universal access for classroom activities. We’ll also examine exciting ways to “provide multiple means of engagement” for students through creating social stories and learning how to socially navigate the world around them. Participants will explore ways to apply these skills to creating Digital Portfolios. Students will ultimately be able to showcase projects that target their Individualized Education Plan benchmarks and goals as well as self-assess their work.

Shift Happens! Common Core, ELA and Digital Literacy
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) identifies 6 shifts in ELA/Literacy, including text complexity, writing from sources and academic vocabulary. This session will explore instructional practices and approaches using digital tools that address the shifts, and provide strategies for implementing the Common Core in the English classroom and across disciplines.

Leveraging Technology with Science Practices

In anticipation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), many educators in Maine are already integrating some of the  8 Science and Engineering Practices into current instruction. Here’s a chance to look more deeply at those Practices from the Framework for K-12 Science Education that inform the NGSS. We will explore MLTI science applications for a hands-on investigation of their alignment to the Maine Learning Results and Practices of the Framework, and discover more ways that technology can enhance learning.

The Art Studio in your MLTI MacBook

Join MLTI to discover the art studio in your MLTI MacBook. Learn new ways to create art, explore tools to design digital portfolios, gain understanding in managing your digital art classroom and grow your research process knowledge. This day will be filled with valuable information for the art teacher.

Digital Citizenship in a Changing World

Students are living in a world of 24/7 access to technology that enables learning and communication in a way that was not possible even a few years ago. This workshop will help you to learn about the digital landscape our students are now living in, and how educators can help students think critically and make responsible choices to improve achievement. We will be exploring some of the free K-12 resources available through Common Sense Media and how to implement them in your classrooms and schools.
Integrating Technology into the World Language Classroom
Technology has produced new communication opportunities, created new ways to participate in culture, and redefined what we call community. This session will focus on integrating MLTI tools into the World Language learners’ experience. We will explore ways to use technology to immerse learners in authentic language and cultural experiences while keeping an eye on assessment and other realities like the Common Core and the Maine Learning Results.
Where’s the Evidence? Digital Tools, Source Material and the Social Studies Classroom

As emerging social scientists, students must have the skills to locate, interpret and use primary and secondary sources in their work. The wealth of source material online, and the digital tools to utilize these resources, present humanities teachers with enormous opportunities to develop these skills in their classes. This workshop will provide educators with strategies for using source material with students: how to find the resources, incorporate source material in student writing, and having students present their interpretations to the world.

 

Going Multimodal: Notes from the March 17 Webinar

March 18th, 2011 No comments

Concept map of North American trees - ConiferousMany thanks to the good folks who came out for yesterday’s webinar, “Multimodal Strategies for Communication & Expression.” Ann Marie and I appreciated the contributions made, which I’ve incorporated into our notes below.

The content of the webinar was based on a 2008 white paper that was commissioned by Cisco and written by the Metiri Group, titled Multimodal Learning through Media: What the Research Says. I liked this report when it was published and decided to resurrect it as the subject of a webinar because, at just 24 pages (including appendices), it’s a bite size synthesis of the research behind multimodal learning and how it can inform the use of multimedia for instruction. The framework of the paper centers on three key aspects of multimodal learning:

  • The physical functioning of the brain (neuroscience)
  • The implications for learning (cognitive science)
  • What the above means for the use of multimedia

So, we set out to define multimodal learning, to summarize the research behind it and, most enjoyably, demonstrate and provide examples of how it can be accomplished through multimedia applications on the MLTI MacBooks. Read more…

January 27 Webinar: Responding to Students of Diverse Cultures

January 21st, 2011 No comments

As schools across Maine welcome increasing populations of students from other countries, educators need to be prepared to respond to their cultural and linguistic differences. For many students who are newcomers to the U.S. and learning the English language, or whose home cultures vary from the majority of  their peers, challenges to learning can be unique and isolating. At the same time, we have a responsibility to ensure that students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds are making progress in meeting standards of the curriculum.

This webinar will introduce participants to the intricacies of teaching students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in general education classrooms. We will be joined in conversation by Maureen Fox and Tom Talarico, both teachers of English Language Learners in the Portland Public Schools. They will share their knowledge and expertise, drawing on personal experience, to provide a background and understanding of the issues facing English Language Learners in our classrooms. We will also look at how technology, specifically applications on the MLTI devices, can be used to support multilingual and multicultural learners.

The webinar presenters will be Jim Wells and Cynthia Curry.

Image from the Kentucky County Day School on Flickr, used with an Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license.

Notes from the Dec 2 Webinar: Strategies & Tools for Tier I Instruction

December 6th, 2010 No comments
Image of Juto

Academic vocabulary through images

We had two informative sessions last Thursday and I’d like to publicly thank my guests, Hillary Brumer and Jamie Jensen of RSU 21, and Robyn Bailey of Lincoln Middle School in Portland.

I’ve been promoting and teaching universal design for learning (UDL) for ten years, and as a former science teacher, I look at UDL through the lens of content area teaching. So when Response to Intervention (RTI) came along, I immediately made a connection with Tier 1, which is general education classroom instruction for all students. Now that schools are planning and implementing RTI, the demand has grown for strategies that work with the widest possible number of students. How to leverage technology with those strategies was what we aimed to deliver in both the afternoon and evening shows.

A Primer on RTI

Although most of us are either aware of or woking within RTI in schools, we introduced the webinar with a brief overview by defining it as a system of tiered interventions. One part of the history of it’s origins is that it was a response to the shortcomings of the existing referral process for special education, which is the discrepancy between a student’s IQ and how far they’ve fallen behind in general education.

The first tier of this system (Tier 1) is general classroom instruction. Tier 1 is made up of universal interventions or strategies that are known to work for most learners. According to RTI’s mandate, 80% of students are expected to respond successfully to Tier I interventions by the general education teacher.

Tier 2 interventions are more targeted than Tier 1 and are provided in the general education classroom, and Tier 3 interventions are the most intense with one-on-one instruction, typically by a specialist.

The most important message that I wanted to send about RTI is that the tiers are fluid. Students who don’t respond to Tier 1 instruction at any given time should be expected to move between or among the tiers, rather than remain in either Tier 2 or Tier 3 for extended periods of time.

For more information about RTI, please visit the Maine Department of Education and the National Center on RTI

Adopt a Capacity Mindset

“Capacity thinking” means that we believe that all students have the capacity to learn. Tapping into that capacity is the first step of Tier 1 instruction. To collect information about students’ capacities, such as their preferred ways of learning, interests, prior knowledge, culture, and content readiness, we introduced a variety of systematic learner profile tools and methods:

Learning style inventories

Conversations

Observations

Interviews

Surveys

Home visits

Family conferences

The Tools & Strategies

Because the specific topics of the morning and afternoon sessions differed, we’ll branch off here and review the 3:15 to 4:15 PM show, followed by that for 7:15 to 8:15 PM.

Afternoon show: Strategies & tools for students with diverse learning needs and preferences

This was really a “don’t they all?” hour because the most important message that emerged was that there’s no strategy or tool for all students. As we talked about the featured MLTI applications, we continuously returned to the need to remind ourselves that technology opens up options, and not one of the tools that we demonstrated should be used without considering or combining with the others. All of the applications can be used for both teacher instruction and student learning, leading us to discuss the power of having students understand their own learning preferences and, therefore, to independently apply the strategies that work best for them. To accomplish that, explicitly teaching learning strategies to students needs to be as much a part of Tier 1 as selecting the most appropriate instructional strategies for our content areas.

Here are the tools and associated strategies:

Readability

Readability converts a “distraction-full” web page into a “distraction-free” and customizable display that clearly presents the content of the page, allowing kids (and grownups) to free themselves of the temptation to pursue an advertisement or conduct any other other off-task task.  It’s easy to set up in 2 steps at the web site of Readability

Text to Speech

Your MacBook has built-in speech, meaning that any digital text that appears on your screen can be read aloud by your computer. The history of speech synthesis might lead you to assume that all system voices are mechanical and without inflection, but recent research has contributed to great strides. Apple introduced “Alex” in Leopard and this voice continues to be a favorite among speech synthesis users. With inexpensive earphones or earbuds that many kids carry with them, the possibilities are endless:

Support for students with specific learning disabilities who benefit from both seeing the text and hearing it read aloud (with the independence to stop/start/rewind as needed)

Focus for students with ADHD

Scaffold for English learners

Proofreader for writers

For instructions, see my QuickTip at iTunes U

Additional voices, including world languages, are available for download from commercial vendors, such as

Cepstral

AssistiveWare Infovox iVox

Add (text selection) to iTunes as a Spoken Track

Another option is for students to convert digital text to a separate audio file spoken by Alex, which can be transferred to an MP3 player or iPod. This can be an appealing option for students who are strong auditory processors and for whom seeing the text is actually a distraction. Being “digital natives,” many students might simply prefer to listen to the audio file because it’s an opportunity to use the technology they more typically use outside of school. (But don’t forget to do checks for understanding to make sure this method is actually working for them.) Here’s how to create a spoken track of digital text, which will work in any application that is native or built for Mac OS X, including but not limited to Safari, TextEdit, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Mail, and NoteShare:

  1. Highlight the text that you want to convert to an audio file
  2. Go to the application’s menu (e.g., if you’re in Safari, go to the Safari menu in the upper left corner of the window)
  3. Choose “Services”
  4. Choose “Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track” (If you don’t see this, choose “Services Preferences…” at the bottom of the same menu. This will open System Preferences. In the scrolling area on the right side, find the Text section, and then choose the box for “Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track”)
  5. The file will open in iTunes.

If you’re unfamiliar with iTunes or otherwise need help beyond this step, don’t hesitate to contact me or any MLTI Integration Mentor.

Speech Recognition

We discussed both the successes and the pitfalls of speech recognition, which is a technology that allows users to control their computers by speaking. It is commonly suggested as a potential solution for students who have difficulty with writing because the spoken words appear on screen. It’s true that speech recognition has been shown to work for this purpose, but only when the software has been purposefully matched with the needs, preferences, and strengths of the student for whom it is being suggested. You can learn more about speech recognition for the Mac at the web site of Nuance.

GeoGebra

Jamie, who is now the K-12 Technology Integrator for RSU 21, is a former high school math teacher. He gave a demonstration of how he used GeoGebra to help students interactively visualize and graph algebraic equations. GeoGebra is pre-loaded on all MLTI MacBooks.

Voice Recording

For some students, speaking what they know is the most effective way for us to measure the extent to which they are making progress toward meeting unit objectives. And, as teachers, conveying information in both text and voice can mean the difference between some and most students’ understanding of our message. This can be accomplished using QuickTime Player on your MLTI MacBook. Here are the steps:

  1. Open QuickTime Player
  2. Go to File > New Audio Recording (note that this version of QuickTime also supports movie and screen recordings)
  3. Press the red record button on the Audio Recording floating window
  4. Make your recording
  5. Press stop button
  6. Play your recording back to confirm your satisfaction
  7. Save the file to your computer and share it via email, web site, blog, wiki, pen drive, etc

iCal

Hillary shared with us a screenshot of a student’s iCal calendar. It’s color-coded by subject area. Beyond due dates, it includes projects that the student is working on to make sure they are completed by the due date, as well as activities outside of school. iCal can also be shared across computers, enabling parents and others to support students’ organization and schedules. iCal is pre-loaded on all MLTI MacBooks.

Concept Mapping

We concluded with the process of concept mapping, which is a meaning-making strategy. Sometimes called mind mapping, visual mapping, or webbing, among other terms, this has shown to be effective at helping learners make connections among ideas, facts, and concepts. When used as formative assessment, it’s a way to identify learning misconceptions. MLTI MacBooks have two concept mapping applications that we discussed and demonstrated: OmniGraffle and Freemind.

Resources that were shared during the afternoon show:

CITEd TechMatrix

UDL Toolkit

EdTech Solutions

LD OnLine

WestEd’s Using Technology to Support Diverse Learners

Evening show: Strategies & tools for English learners

We began the evening show by discussing the unique needs and preferences of English learners. Robyn provided us with a description of teaching science to English learners. We chose to focus on strategies associated with academic vocabulary because, although a unique process for English learners, it is a need for all students across the content areas. Robyn introduced us to Juto, whose picture appears on this blog post, a student whose first language is Japanese and was the mini case study of our webinar.

Robyn walked us through the steps of a strategy that she commonly uses when introducing a new unit. We broke the steps down into individual strategies and accompanying tools.

The first strategy we call “multiple means of accessing text” by using Open Education Resources (OERs) in digital text format that can be accessed via text to speech, conversion to audio file, text enlargement, or Braille.

The second is “differentiation of text types and complexity” by providing tiered instructional materials at her Portaportal page (Lexile level, use of images, amount of text vs white space, etc).

The third strategy we identified is “supporting legibility and readability of text” by utilizing Readability.

The fourth is “student identification and recording of unknown words,” for which Stickies, pre-loaded on all MLTI MacBooks, was chosen.

And, finally, “analysis of words and building of vocabulary” was demonstrated through the use of a digital Frayer Model.

Resources shared during the evening webinar included

MARVEL (Maine’s Virtual Library is host to numerous databases and can be searched by Lexile levels)

IRIS Center’s Cultural and Linguistic Differences:  What Teachers Should Know

IRIS Center’s Anchoring Math Instruction to Cultural Relevance

IRIS Center’s RTI and Cultural Considerations

English Language Learner Instruction in Middle and High School

Pre-reading Activities for ELLs

NCCRESt Practitioner Briefs

Across both the afternoon and evening webinars, we concluded that

  • Tier 1 universal interventions are based on what we know about how most students learn;
  • We need knowledge of our students in order to select the most appropriate strategies, and therefore the right tools;
  • Technology opens up means and modalities by which students can meet the same high expectations.

December 2nd Webinar: Strategies & Tools for Tier I Instruction

November 29th, 2010 2 comments
Image of construction scaffolding

Scaffolding by Brett Weinstein used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

Tier I instruction refers to Response to Intervention (RTI), which is a method of supporting student achievement and preventing failure. Through a school’s RTI plan, instruction and interventions are matched to student need, and are adjusted in relation to student response as measured by assessment of learning. Tier I instructional strategies and interventions are those selected and used by general education teachers, and applications on the MLTI laptops can support teachers in implementing effective practices for content area learning.

During the 3:15 to 4:15 PM delivery of this webinar, Hillary Brumer, Assistive Technology Specialist, and Jamie Jensen, K-12 Technology Integrator, both of RSU 21, are our guests. We will discuss and demonstrate targeted strategies for supporting students with diverse learning needs.

Between 7:15 and 8:15 PM, Robyn Bailey, science teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Portland, will be our guest. We’ll discuss and demonstrate targeted strategies for supporting students of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Both sessions will be delivered on Thursday, December 2nd. For information and to register, please choose the WebCasts tab at the top of this page.